There were different installation types I think and they all had different number of disks. The one I had had 13 floppies but most came on the New CD and had to be written to a pile of user supplied disks to install. That version had over 30 disks as you describe
IRRC, you could write the first 3 disks to boot from, then install off the CD.
The first install I did from those floppies, was on a 386sx machine with 2MB ram too